It took me 30 years to see TobyMac in concert!
It was the Summer of 1990, and I was a very new Christian, having come to know Christ only a few years before. I had been recruited to serve as the Waterfront Director at Saranac Village, a Young Life Camp in upstate New York. It is a wild story how I got the job for the summer, but basically I got a phone call one day that a friend of a friend of the camp director had heard about me and heard that I had been a lifeguard through High School and would I come because the guy they had lined up bailed on them at the last minute. Of course, I was thrilled to get the call and looking back on it now, I think it was God’s Providence that everything worked out as it did because it was a time in my life that I was struggling. My parents had just announced to my brother and I that they were divorcing, I had dropped out of college, was basically unemployed living in a guys’ basement for free. I was definitely doubting God’s existence at the time, given my life situation and looking back on it now, God definitely threw me a lifeline because it turned out to be one of the best summers of my life.
For those that don’t know how a Young Life Camp works, there are some paid staff that are there for the whole Summer (like I was) and there are ‘Summer Staff’ positions that are one-month volunteer positions, so it was fun for me to get to know three different Summer Staff crews that came in and out for the Summer. Over the course of the Summer, for one week at a time, local Young Life groups bring kids to camp and the staff that is there repeats the program for 12 weeks, one week at a time. Somewhere near the middle of that summer, there was a Young Life group from Northern Virginia that came through for their week at camp and there was a particular buzz among some of the Summer Staff because they too were from Northern Virginia and they were excited to see their friends and some of the high school kids they were investing their lives in. Another factor in the ‘buzz’ was that Moose Valliere was one of the Young Life Leaders that was bringing kids to Saranac, and Moose had just worked with a new band that had formed and had recorded their first album. The members of that band, known as DC Talk, were friends with Moose and Moose got to show his beatbox skills on the album. This was the first time I had heard of DC Talk and when I got home from my assignment that Summer, I picked up their first album, and I liked their sound and how upfront they were about their Christian faith. There were many times through the 1990’s that their music spoke to me and encouraged me to be strong in my faith at certain periods.
When the band broke up in 2000, I was disappointed because it had been fun to see how each of their albums got better and better and the quality of their music got better with each album. Shortly after the break up, I had heard that one of the members of DC Talk, Toby Mckeehan, better known as TobyMac, was releasing a solo album. Being just a few years older than me, I’ve enjoyed keeping up with Toby’s career and with each album that he has released, I’ve seen the same trend where the music just keeps getting better. He was raising his kids at the same time I was raising mine, and his music has reflected the stages of his life that were similar to the stages I was going through in my own life. God has used Toby’s music in my life a lot over the years, especially when I’ve needed a boost to keep ‘fighting the good fight,’ and it’s been fun to introduce my kids to Toby’s music, which has served to them as a ‘You can be cool and still listen to Christian music.’ Toby’s lyrics are overtly Christ-honoring and I am thankful for this man and his ministry.
I’ve been a fan of Toby and his music for 30 years now, and a few months ago, I saw that Toby was going to be in concert here in Denver and so I asked my family if I could put all the birthday money they would have given me to get tickets to see him. It’s a little surprising with how much I like Toby and his music that I’ve never seen him in concert, but that drought ends tonight! My daughter Anna and I are going to see TobyMac in concert and I couldn’t be more excited! This will be Anna’s first concert ever, and I’m excited she’s coming with me. TobyMac’s life and ministry through his music is a good testament of how one person can be used by God as they make themselves available to be used! Toby, I praise God for you and I’m looking forward to seeing your concert tonight!